June 12th, 2016 is a date that will live in memory for years to come. A man walked into a gay club on Latin night, and started shooting. 49 people were killed and 53 injured before the shooter was shot and killed by police.
The country mourned. The world mourned.
But I – I was tired. I was tired of seeing story after story, from mass shootings to domestic violence to accidental shootings by toddlers. I was tired of empty indignation and false promises followed by nothing changing. I was tired of watching helplessly as the same thing happened again and again. I wanted to do something. I needed to do something.
So on June 14th, 2016, I started Stories Cut Short. Every day I make a post about a victim of US gun violence. I can’t cover all of them. There are just too many, and many of them aren’t even known. But I can do some of them.
My goal is to turn these people from numbers, from statistics, into real human beings who were taken away. I don’t just talk about their death, but their life – where they went to school, their job, their interests. Their favourite colour, their hopes for the future. The statistics of gun violence are staggering, but they can be distancing. If I can humanize them, make them real – maybe I can reach someone. Maybe I can change someone’s mind, or stir someone into action. Maybe I can make it matter.
I’ve covered suicides. Accidents. Domestic violence. Innocent bystanders. I’ve covered children, teens, mothers, fathers, siblings. I’ve covered people who were killed on their birthday, or just days away from it. I’ve covered immigrants who moved to the US in search of a better life. I’ve done over two hundred and fifty pieces, each one a story ended too soon. Each number a living, breathing person who should still be living and breathing.
Maybe it’s a small thing. Maybe it will never lead to a massive change. But maybe it will. Change isn’t something that comes from one person, or one decision, or one moment – it’s gradual. It builds. This page is me adding my voice. This page is me calling for others to add theirs.
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